The best Easter ever!

And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow…. Gospel according to St. Matthew 28:1-10

The Magi who came seeking the Messiah were overjoyed at seeing the star of Jesus, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The Women who came to the tomb seeking Jesus the crucified were not expecting an angel with the appearance of lightning. After seeing the angel of the Lord, the women went away from the empty tomb fearful yet overjoyed. But then Jesus greeted them as they ran. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage like the Magi did. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of humility, surrender and love. Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.”

Here I was in Fallujah, Iraq on Christmas night 2004, I was exhausted, beat up and depleted. I had celebrated about 19 Masses in three days. It was rainy and cold with broken glass all around me. A 19 year old Marine on lookout was unable to receive communion and asked for me to bring Jesus to him. I almost said no, but here I was. He was fearful yet overjoyed at seeing me with the Eucharist. We didn’t know that the battle was over. My homily was the same for every Mass and Communion service. “If this is not the best Christmas ever, then something is wrong.” The Marine looked at me from the mud, death and broken glass as if I was crazy. Even though I truly believed that every day living and believing in Jesus makes it the best ever, my hope was frail and despair was building. My joy was on life-support.

This young Marine reverently opened his grimy hands to receive the Body of Christ. I thought of Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes in the crèche and on the cross. As I began to sing O Holy Night, which is really an Easter hymn of resurrection, the Marine sang louder and louder in an operatic voice. Could the whole world hear this Marine? With our eyes closed, tears streamed down my face and soul. I was no longer afraid. When I opened my eyes and saw the Marine radiant with face awash in tears, he gave me a smile and simply said, “Yep, Padre, this is truly the best Christmas ever!” We had approached Jesus, embraced his feet, and did him homage. We offered him gifts of innocents lost, broken minds, and love. Jesus simply said, “Do not be afraid! Tell my brothers and sisters the Good News! You will see me in the Eucharist!” And now today is the day that springs from the best Christmas ever. It must truly be the best Easter Ever…

Some people are still trapped in the rubble of life and some, like you, with the help of God, are raised from the rubble and rebuilt with strength, courage and patient hope. We have the choice, will we step out of the tomb new and renewed, resurrected in our lives, or will we be tempted to return to the tomb with our same old perspective, and, like shackles, take them again into our life’s experience?

This is the atmosphere of the tomb, but Jesus wants to instead, open the way of life, the way of joy and the way to lasting peace. The light has conquered darkness; hosanna to God in the highest!  ( Check out the short video clip which will inspire)

Best Easter Ever

I pray for each and everyone of us that we might be filled up, filled up with the joy of salvation, filled up with the joy of justice, filled up with the joy of the Sunday experience so that our lives speak something, so that our lives mean something, so that our lives have a purpose, so that our lives have an impact. Jesus is the light that comes into our world, his words echo through the Gospels, may we remain young as they also echo in our lives fully alive with strength, courage, wonder, awe and hope, as Good News.

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Holy Thursday ~ Passover of Love

Holy Thursday ~ Queen of Peace Community, Gainesville

April 13, 2017 ~ 30th Anniversary

Gospel According to St. John (13, 1-13): Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end…   So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

A woman ran up to Jesus and knelt down, saying, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered with a question as he often does, “Why do you call me good, for no one is good but God Alone? Do you really know I am the Son of God who came for you and loves you unconditionally? You know the commandments, which are essential for the journey. You shall not kill, steal, covet, commit adultery, defraud, or lie. You shall receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice, and return them to God with increase.” This community of Queen of Peace answers, “Lord, we have kept all of these commandments, since we were established as a parish in 1987.

Tonight, this night, Jesus looks at us and loves us. Then he says, “You are lacking one thing. Go sell what you have and give alms to the poor. Give more than 10% to the poor and you will have treasures in heaven. Then come and follow me and I will be with you through your fears.” In order to follow Jesus, we must be all in. We can’t be just a little pregnant with the Word of God.

Tonight, this most holy night, Jesus offers us a most wonderful and almost unimaginable gift. Jesus loves us. Jesus washes our feet… everyone of us! The gift is love. The gift is joy. The gift is peace. What more do we need if Jesus looks at us and loves us? On Passion Sunday, a song was proclaimed at the foot of the Cross-after the community proclaimed the Passion. That was Father Jeff’s homily. It was perfect. On Good Friday, we will hear the song again… but the response to our prayer will not be totally understood until the Easter Vigil when the baptismal waters and the Holy Spirit are poured out on all of us.

Jesus, the resurrected Son of God, will sing the song back to us with love:

In your eyes are my secrets that I’ve never shown you.

In my heart I feel, I’ve always known you.

In your arms there’s a comfort that I’ve never known

You’re what I’ve been waiting for. There’s no one like you.

Sure as a sunrise, pure as a prayer,

You fashioned hope right out of thin air.

Every dream I imagined, seems it could come true

I believe in miracles, there’s no one like you.

Jesus is inviting each of you tonight to a journey we have always known. It is the Passover into Love itself. Martha, loved by Jesus, recognized Jesus as the Passover Lamb when he said, “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me and dies will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” What is your response? Jesus is washing you with Baptism, feeding you with his Body and Blood, and enflaming your soul with His Holy Spirit. He is looking at you with love. If the Mass never ends, and I believe it never does, then let us take it with us and give thanks to God by loving one another and washing the feet of the world. And we shall pray together many more songs.


Many nights we prayed, with no proof anyone could hear
In our hearts a hope for a song, we barely understood

Now we are not afraid, although we know there’s much to fear
We were moving mountains long before we knew we could,

There can be miracles, when you believe
Though hope is frail, its hard to kill

Who knows what miracles, you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will
You will when you believe
In this time of fear, when prayer so often proves in vain

Hope seems like the summer bird, too swiftly flown away
Yet now I’m standing here. My hearts so full, I can’t explain,

Seeking faith and speakin’ words, I never thought I’d say (Refrain)

From Prince of Egypt

 

Behold the Lamb of God!

Behold the Lamb of God ~ 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time ~ St. John 1:29-34:

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him… Behold the Lamb of God; I did not know him; baptize with water; baptize with the Holy Spirit; Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.dscf7150

The following prayer has guided my life. The Cursillo prays it before they witness to their study, piety, action and close moment with Jesus:

Come Holy Spirit,

Fill the Hearts of your faithful.

Enkindle in us the fire of your Love.

Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created,

and you shall renew the face of the earth.

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructs the hearts of your faithful,

Grant that by the same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise,

and forever rejoice in your consolation, through Christ Our Lord. Amen!

Do you know what happens to black coal if it is deep enough in the ground, under great enough pressure, suffering and a million years? Yes, it becomes a crystal clear and radiant diamond. We don’t have to wait millions of years to become God’s diamonds, God’s children… because Jesus, the Lamb of God, takes the suffering on himself.

This week I had the opportunity to celebrate Mass at one of our nursing homes. O how they suffer. It was amazing how Jesus spoke through them. When they were anointed, they were reminded that they would be healed of something to help them renew the face of the earth. I asked them what they wanted to be healed of. They didn’t look at me like I was off my rocker. They didn’t say, “Duh, cant’ you see I need healing of my abandonment or bitterness or physical suffering.” They didn’t want temporary relief, but everlasting healing. What they asked for was wisdom, knowledge and understanding… courage, counsel and reverence… wonder and awe. They wanted the Holy Spirit! After communion we sang this song. We heard Jesus cry out to us,”

Come, come unto me

I will make you a jewel, precious and rare, the glory you’ll bear,

In the crown of God.

~From the dawn of creation, to the tree on Calvary

I chose you and gave my life, to be my own and to be my delight.

~There are words you alone can say, and there are deeds only you can do.

Trust in me and do not tremble, for I go with you to show you the way!

*Come, come unto me…   (Bob Hurd)

While holding the Body and Blood of Jesus, the priest proclaims: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the LAMB!” We respond, “O Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.”

Since we were little children, we have been saying this every Sunday, if not more, but I sense we get stuck on the first part of unworthiness. God wants to heal us. We just have to ask. God sent God’s own beloved son to us so that we can feast on His Body and Blood and become what we eat. (The Lamb of God.) Two thousand years before Jesus, Isaac was carrying the wood on his back while his father, Abraham, was carrying the fire. He cried out, “Dad! Here is the wood and you have the fire. Where is the sacrifice?” Abraham gently responded to his son knowing what he was about to do, “Son, God will provide.” The ram was caught in the thicket and took the son’s place.

Now Jesus is carrying the wood of the Cross and he cries out to God, His Father, “Abba, Daddy! Here is the wood, and here is the fire (anger) of the people. Where is the sacrifice?” God responds with a whisper, “My Beloved Son… You are the sacrifice!” Jesus says, “Your will be done.” God allows us to sacrifice his Son.

So both father and son will die.

When we dare to eat the body and blood of Jesus, we become God’s daughters and sons. We will either watch our beloved ones die, which is really death itself, or we become like Jesus… the sacrifice. We die.

Like John the Baptist, we are not worthy to receive Jesus. We need to be healed. Our black coal needs to radiate Christ within us. Sometimes, I say to Jesus, “Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul will be healed of… my doubt… my addictions… my depression… my anxiety… my bitterness… my unforgiveness… my jealousy… my need to control… my lack of generosity…” Then I can help renew the face of the earth.

Soul healing comes through the fire of the Holy Spirit, the Blood of the Lamb.

“Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.” Jesus needs to heal us, so that the Jesus in us will attract others. It is Jesus working through us, and it is not because we are worthy.

All of us, with Jesus in our bodies and souls, cry out to the world:

We are one body, one body in Christ

And we do not stand-alone

We are one body, one body in Christ

And he came that we might have life.

                               ~When you eat my body and you eat my blood

               I will live in you, and you will live in my love. (2X)

                                                Table of Plenty – John Michael Talbot

Truly, the Mass never ends, we take it with us. Thanks be to God!

God is Love. God is Good…

All the Time!

What are you looking for? – Jesus

Come and See!

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John, you will be called Kephas” which is translated Peter).
Gospel According to St. John 1:35-39

"Behold the Lamb of God!"

The Church has now returned to Ordinary Time. However, an encounter with Jesus is anything but ordinary. All of us who were baptized and confirmed in the Holy Spirit are standing with John the Baptist. When Jesus passes by, we hear John cry out, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Do we follow Jesus? Are we prepared for Jesus to turn around and look at us and then ask, “What are you looking for?”

Jesus asks you and me, “What are you looking for?”

Follow the Light


After reflecting on this question all week, I believe I am ready to answer the question. “Beloved Rabbi, Teacher, Jesus…where are you staying? How do I get to be with you in eternity? I am looking to be loving and compassionate like You are.”

Jesus answers me in a whisper and with a smile, “Come and see!”

And so I went out of my house. I thought I was alone, but I wasn’t. I spent the day with Jesus. This is how I attempted to use words to explain my day:

12 January 12

Morning alone
with thoughts and delusion
contemplating, or rather wasting time
depending on who judges,
thoughtful
reactive
intuitive
alone
Beyond me
Beyond words
Lost and being
Things to do, but if not done, no matter
Sitting, forming words
barely touching or pronouncing
the reality, the thought
scream as I might,
won’t bring it, or that about
staying with my self not an option
and yet the only option
ugggghhhhhh!
…and o my
confused and yet clear
alone morning.

O Beloved Sisters and Brothers, when the priest holds up the Body and Blood of Jesus at Mass, he cries out:

“Behold the Lamb of God!
Behold him who takes away the sin of the world!
Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb!”

Each and every week we attend Mass, we hear the words of John the Baptist saying, “Behold the Lamb of God!” What are we prepared to do? Do we follow Jesus? Do we answer His questions like, “What are you looking for?”

May I suggest that we follow Jesus, and when he turns and looks at us and asks us that question, we simply answer his call to, “Come, and you will see!”

Jesus will invite us to feast on the finest bread and the choicest wine we could ever imagine. Jesus will bring us home to his Father and Mother. We will then be called the Beloved daughters and sons of God. How awesome is that!?”

Please have a most awesome week in the presence of Jesus and His family.
You will find me following the Lamb of God. Where will we find you?

Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses +